UPDATED — OCTOBER 1, 2019
The Staff and Leadership Council of Highlands Church North Denver have together decided that the Holiday Theater is no longer the right fit for our worshiping community. From our Info + Prayer Meetings we have gathered your questions. Below are answers to some of those questions, along with the list of questions we have yet to answer. If you have further questions, please contact Co-pastor Rachael McClair or Leadership Council member Josh Kleinman.
- The Holiday Theater has been our home. Why would we move?
There are two main reasons why we have decided to leave. The first is that, despite our best efforts to make the space work well for kids, youth, and additional gatherings for people to make deeper connections outside of the worship service, the building layout does not work well. The second reason is that the financial cost is simply too high.
- Is there something wrong that we need to move?
No. We are financially stable. Our Leadership Council and Staff are strong, with a clear sense of God’s call leading us forward, and a shared feeling of hope and expectation.
- How does our Strategic Plan accommodate a move like this?
The Strategic Plan helps us align our resources with our top priorities as a community, and is the main driver which identified that this building, though beloved, isn’t working for enough of our needs. Wherever we end up, we will apply the priorities of the Strategic Plan to our new environment. We will also continue our other local partnerships with the ACC and Casa de Paz.
- How will we know we are successful in this transition?
How we do what we do is as important as what we do. Listening well to God, and to each other, is our most important step. We will be successful in this transition if our communication is clear and there is opportunity for everyone to provide feedback along the way. With this change we hope more people of HCND will feel a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility for their faith community.
- How can we help?
Your insight and communication is needed, as are your prayers. Please stay engaged as we share information, ask your questions, and pray for wisdom as we scout out possible locations.
- How soon will we leave?
We expect it could take 9 – 18 months. We are beginning the search for a new home right now, and VidaPoint has been notified that we will not renew our lease, which expires 06/30/2023. Our budget is stable, and we have plenty of time to find the right place.
- What happens if VidaPoint sells the building before we find a home?
We may have to find a temporary home until we secure a permanent one. VidaPoint will give us as much time as they possibly can to find our new home.
- What happens if we find a new home before our lease expires?
We are responsible for our lease which expires 06/30/2023. However, VidaPoint has graciously offered to do what they can to reduce our liability as much as possible. The ideal situation would be that we find a place around the same time VidaPoint sells the building. If VidaPoint is unable to sell the building quickly, we will have to pay for our lease until they do.
- Will we go back to two services? We know that for many of you, the 9:00am worship time is ideal. We may return to two services in 2020. As for worship service times when we move, it will depend on the size of the worship space.
- Do we have another space in mind?
We are beginning our search now.
- Who’s on the Building Search Committee? What skill sets are represented?
The BSC consists of Leadership Council members, Staff members, and two others with financial and commercial property expertise. The BSC is informed by your input through questions and will make a final recommendation to the Leadership Council and Staff.
- Will we leave North Denver/Highlands?
While our preference is to stay in Denver, we may need to leave the North Denver/Highlands area if we cannot find the right building at a price we can afford.
- How wide will we make the search/boundaries?
Our priority range is within the Colfax to I-70, Sheridan to I-25 boundary. We have created a wide search area with the following boundaries: I-70 to the north; Evans to the south; Monaco to the east; Sheridan to the west.
- What specifically are we looking for in a new building?
This is not an exhaustive list, but top priorities include an auditorium/gathering space that seats at least 300; minimum of five classrooms for kids; youth space; a “fellowship hall” large room; parking; public transit accessibility. Nice To Have’s include additional rooms/offices; gym; outdoor space (playground, garden); full kitchen.
- Will we find a traditional church building, or a different kind of building like a theater?
We will look at all kinds of available spaces, including schools, churches, and theaters. We are open to a variety of creative options.
- What will happen to the partners who use our building now (AA, Al-Anon, Khesed Counseling)?
These partnerships are extremely important to us – we plan to offer our new space to all three.
- How do I share a potential location option?
If you have a space for us to consider, please review the specifications written above. If it meets the Must Have criteria, please send the info to our Leadership Council.
- Can we afford another space? There are buildings around the city that are affordable. We feel very confident we will find a building that is both affordable, and has the right kind of space we need to thrive.
- What analysis has been done? There are five areas we are diligently analyzing right now. We have done initial work exploring a loan structure. VidaPoint has promised a large donation which we are confident we will receive. We will analyze what it will cost to prepare a new building, and what it will cost to move. The final area is our budget, which will encompass all of these components.
- What is our budget? We have a team of financial experts working with our Leadership Council to finalize our budget.
- Will we rent or buy? We hope to purchase a building, with the help of a significant donation from VidaPoint upon the sale of the Holiday Theater. We remain open to renting if that’s the best option for us.
- Who owns the Holiday Theater?
A small group of investors, VidaPoint, purchased the building in 2012 with the sole purpose of providing HCND with an affordable home. You can see more of this story on our website.
- Did we consider buying the Holiday?
We did consider purchasing the Holiday as an option that would have reduced the amount of property taxes, due to our non-profit, tax-exempt status with the IRS. However, due diligence revealed the cost of purchasing, plus the cost of renovating additional apartments to make more classroom and gathering space was too high for us to afford.
- Will VidaPoint be made whole once they sell the building?
VidaPoint expects to make a profit on the sale of this building. With that money, they will recoup their investment, and plan to make a generous donation to HCND to help secure our next home.
- Did we make much income when we sublet the Holiday? Will we do that in the future/new location?
We sublet the Holiday Theater for outside events such as weddings, concerts, and art lectures. It is difficult to turn a profit, particularly if the building is not rented out full time. The wear and tear on our equipment, the building, and HCND volunteers who strike/set the stage each week contributed to making this only a nominal help to our overall budget. We are open to the possibility of subletting our new location, depending on space availability and staffing capacity.
- How do the leaders of HCND feel about this?
Emotionally, this was a difficult decision to make. We love a lot of things about this building, and put in a lot of hours cleaning it up and making it feel like home. Strategically, this was an easy decision to make. We are responsible to make the very best use of the resources that are entrusted to us, and it was easy to see that we are paying too much for a building that meets only about 1/3 of our needs. We feel very confident that this is the right decision.
- How does this impact the attendees who live nearby?
Those who live close by will be impacted uniquely by this decision. We know that, for those who walk or ride bikes to church, it will be a big change to have to drive outside the neighborhood. We are meeting with attendees who live in the area on Sunday, October 6th immediately following the service to talk about ways to mitigate the impact. We hope and pray that many in the immediate area will continue to HCND.
- How can we process this big decision emotionally?
Please talk to us, to your Deepen group, or to other friends in the community. We are sure that God holds all of our feelings, and we will do our very best to imitate this graciousness and understanding.
- Will there be some kind of commemoration/celebration of the Holiday before we leave?
Yes! We will have a farewell service when it is time to leave the Holiday. God did so much for us and through us during our time in the Holiday, and there is much to be grateful for.
QUESTIONS LEFT TO ANSWER
- When will we communicate KEY DECISIONS to the community? What feedback will we solicit? How can people give input?
- Searching for a new co-pastor and searching for a building at the same time is consuming. How will the church staff and Leadership Council balance this? And how can those of us who call HCND our home be most supportive?
- Can we make sure the aesthetics of the new building match our unique vibe?
- Will we find a stage/space that accommodates our music/choir program?
- Can we be sure the kids’ space is flexible to accommodate the ebb/flow of attendance?
- Could we build our own building?
- Can we look for a place that has a kitchen/better prep space for the purposes of Hospitality on Sundays, but potentially also serve the broader community?
- Can we involve Kids/Youth in the search?
- What can we take with us from the Holiday Theater?
- Is North High School available as an option?
- Will we keep the name Highlands Church North Denver?
- Will the “flavor” or “Vision” change depending on the neighborhood we move to? Could our “identity” change?
- What happens to our work with North High School?
- Is there a certain size we will limit ourselves to, as part of our vision for planting more churches around the city, rather than growing bigger and bigger?
- Is it still in our Strategic Plan to help plant more churches?
- If serving the larger Denver area is our calling, would we consider more than one campus?
- Are we open to a possible childcare facility at a new location?
- Have we done an assessment about how many people we might lose by moving locations?
- Would we consider meeting on a Saturday night, if sharing space is necessary?
- Have we looked into grants that might support the restoration of a building or connected to the vision/work we are doing?
- Have we considered partner churches/organizations that might strategically share the space/costs? If so, what consideration would go into who we would partner with?
- Have we identified a commercial broker we want to work with?
- Will there need to be a capital campaign?
- Can we make our new place GREEN/sustainable?
- Is the goal to maximize what we can purchase, but may keep us at a bare-bones budget, or are we looking to reduce our monthly expense now so that our budget can support more ministry/staff expense?
- What will become of the Holiday Theater? How feasible will it be for them to sell this place?
- Is this the right time for VidaPoint to sell?
- What will happen to the long-term residents of the Holiday Flats/Apartments?
- Is there anything we can do to add value to the Holiday Theater before it goes to market?
- What is the primary negative response from the HCND community?